Free family fun in Jozi

by Laurel Pretorius
Free family fun in Johannesburg
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Do more as a family in 2024 by trying out these fun activities. Most are free and some charge a minimal fee. By Laurel Pretorius.

For the sake of keeping our family connected and our mental health intact, we should make one of our New Year’s resolutions to go out more and visit fun, fascinating, fabulous and most important, free places with our kids. It’s a lovely way to connect with our partners and brood while getting to explore our city.

Do however remember to check for any entry fees or changes in policies before planning your visit. Now go have some fun with some of our favourite suggestions.

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Johannesburg Botanical Garden

Situated in Emmarentia, the ever-popular Johannesburg Botanical Garden spans over 80 hectares, featuring diverse plant life, a stunning rose garden, and picturesque lakes. Families with small kids will enjoy picnicking in, or close to, the enclosed play area. It offers little ones a variety of unique play equipment that encourages them to explore and learn naturally. Entrance is free.

Perfect for: playing, strolling, picnicking, and feeding the ducks.

The Wilds

This wonderfully preserved green oasis in Houghton offers interesting walking trails – spot art installations in the form of sculptures along the way, indigenous flora, and panoramic views of Johannesburg. It makes for the perfect natural haven for families seeking a tranquil escape in a unique urban setting. Entrance is free.

Perfect for: walking, art and bird spotting, picnicking, and playing frisbee, soccer, or catchers on the big lawn.

Hyundai Sky Park aka The Mushroom Farm Park

This cool community park in Sandton hosts a popular farmers’ market on weekends, provides ample green space for picnics, and features a nicely maintained playground for children. The park’s focus on sustainability and community engagement makes it a well-loved spot among families. Entrance is free.

Perfect for: kiddies’ playtime, picnics, and a bit of an outdoor shop on weekends.

Public Libraries

Gauteng’s public libraries provide welcoming spaces for bookish and book-loving families. They offer dedicated children’s sections with a wide range of books, especially the Johannesburg City Library, Sandton Library, Linden Library and Parkview Library.

Find out about their educational programs and interactive storytelling sessions. Our public libraries are all free and this includes the books you hire but you will be fined for any late returns.

Perfect for: parents seeking a quiet space where their kids can discover the magic of reading and storytelling.

Visit: Have a blast on a budget

Play Africa at Constitution Hill

Play Africa is a children’s museum that offers interactive, educational and creative experiences. It was designed keeping children who have disabilities in mind, and offers interactive exhibits, workshops, and educational programs, promoting creativity, problem-solving, and cultural understanding for children of all ages.

Con Hill offers free-admission days to commemorate special national holidays. These days include:

  • Human Rights Day on 21st March
  • Freedom Day on 27th April
  • Youth Day on 16th June
  • Women’s Day on 9th August
  • Heritage Day on 24th September
  • International Human Rights Day on 10th December
  • Day of Reconciliation on 16th December

Perfect for: playing and engaging in a stimulating and creative space.

Museum Africa

Located in Newtown, this landmark museum showcases the cultural and historical heritage of Johannesburg. Families can explore exhibits on apartheid, traditional African art, and archaeological findings. The museum provides an insightful and educational experience for both parents and children alike. Entrance to the museum is around R40.

Perfect: for exploring and learning.

Boating at Zoo Lake

What makes Jozi’s iconic Zoo Lake so special is that it offers boating as an activity. The kids will love it. Afterwards, find a shady spot under the trees and enjoy a picnic. There’s a decent kid’s play area, too, for little ones with lots of energy. The entrance to Zoo Lake is free and you can hire a boat at a minimal cost (around R10 per boat).

Perfect for: boating, picnicking, and playing.

James Hall Museum of Transport

Located in Rosettenville, this museum boasts an extensive collection of vintage vehicles, everything from cars and bicycles, to trains and even animal-drawn vehicles. The display clearly depicts the evolution of transportation in South Africa, making it an exciting and educational destination for motoring enthusiasts, young and old. Entrance is free to this charming little museum though they do ask for a donation.

Perfect for: history buffs and lovers of all things on wheels.

Maboneng Precinct

While some activities within the Maboneng arts and culture hub may require cash, exploring the vibrant streets and public art is completely free. Your kids will love the colourful street art (there are some stunning larger-than-life wall mural), interesting galleries, and unique shops. Take a leisurely stroll through the city streets, enjoy the public art installations, and soak in the creative atmosphere.

Perfect for: urban exploration and a day of arts and culture.

Art Galleries

Most South African art galleries offer free entrance and for art-loving families, you can make a day of gallery hopping to view some of our more established galleries’ permanent art collections. Try the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), CIRCA Gallery, the Everard Read Gallery, and the Goodman Gallery, to name a few.Free family fun in Jozi

Perfect for: budding artists and families who love the arts.

Also read: Get outdoors & active with your family this summer

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